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10.01 Introducing Databases

Throughout this book we practiced creating many sample reports in the tutorials. Within each tutorial, we always based the report off the Xtreme.mdb database and left it at that. Although this was done to keep things simple and focus on the topic at hand, there is so much more to what Crystal Reports can do. We are way overdue for learning more about databases and how Crystal Reports can connect to them. In this chapter, we are going to move beyond using the simplistic MS Access sample database that comes with Crystal Reports and examine how to get more out of our data and learn about advanced data access.

The backbone of every report is the database that stores the data it prints. Companies of all sizes utilize different aspects of Crystal Reports to distribute information to their users. Large corporations merge data from different servers into reports that consolidate and chart information from a dozen or more tables. Small businesses optimize their report distribution and expand their client base by providing their data in an XML format and letting companies from around the world generate reports on it. Home offices often do simple tasks such as printing monthly sales...

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